Growing roses just might be in my blood. Both of my grandmothers were botanical geniuses. They loved plants and could grow ANYTHING successfully. One of them, though, loved and adored roses. Her backyard would have shamed the pages of Better Homes and Gardens or Victoria magazine. There were thousands – of roses in every glorious color: from dark red to the palest pink; pure whites to a darker creamy color; pale purples; and of course, yellows. Tons of yellow because she lived in Texas … "She’s the sweetest little rosebud That Texas ever knew, Her eyes are bright as diamonds, They sparkle like the dew; You may talk about your Clementine, And sing of Rosalee, But the YELLOW ROSE OF TEXAS Is the only girl for me."
I love roses so I decided to start growing them myself. My sweet grandmother obligingly gave me multiple plants in all kind of colors and I brought them home to Atlanta, planted them and waited for my glorious backyard.
Ha! my rose garden was a disaster! Those rose had a new problem every week. OK, maybe not every week but I was constantly running to the nursery to buy a new chemical to prevent or kill something that was attacking my roses. Here are some of the horrors that I remember:
This stuff, called black spot, thrives in warm, humid climates – a perfect description of an Atlanta summer.
That is powdery mildew and it does sort of look like powder. If it isn’t destroy, it will take over the entire rose plant.
|Those are aphids and they suck the juice right out of roses and other plants. Wikipedia says, "
The damage they do to plants has made them enemies of farmers and gardeners the world over
|That disgusting picture to the left is gray mold on a strawberry. It’s some kind of fungus and it looks uber nasty because it is. Doesn’t do roses much good, as you might imagine!
These are just a few of the rose plagues that I remember. So I gave up on roses. And that was more than 20 years ago.
Fast Forward to 2010: Growing Roses Again
I decided to try again and you can see the results right here! Aren’t they gorgeous?
The difference? I decided to study up on the subject and so I read a book called "101 Tips for Growing and Enjoying Your Own Great Rose Garden". I very carefully prepared the soil as directed in the book and then I laid down weed cloth.
Where we plant our roses is critical. 101Tips states, "When planting roses, you want to pick a spot that is well lit in the morning. You also want an area that is sunlit for at least 6 hours a day. Roses need a great deal of light if they are to grow properly." I chose a small and confined area by my driveway that gets sun all day until around 4PM.
I followed these directions as perfectly as possible and you can see my results! I wanted to make sure that they would survive the winter and the winter of 2010-2011 was quite cold and we had several snows. I piled up a lot of yello straw and pinestraw last fall and they are thriving this year.
Growing Roses 2012
I have plans for next year now that I feel certain I can grow roses. For one thing, I want some different colors next year. Pinks are definitely may favorite but next year I will add yellow, dark red and white. There is a coral or salmon color that’s quite beautiful but the others come first.
Next, I want to expand my rose beds. Slowly. It’s true that some roses are just more finicky that others and I just want two bushes of each until I understand the species.
Third, these pink roses have no fragrance. I’m pretty sure that we have to get the ‘old’ roses, the antique roses, instead of these hybrids, if we want fragrance.
If You Want to Grow Gorgeous Roses, Too
Here is the book that taught me how to grow roses. The book includes these chapters:
Choosing the Right Roses for Your Garden
Common Types of Roses
Watering Your Roses
Fertilizing Your Roses
Caring for Roses
Pruning Your Roses
Planting Potted Roses
Growing Organic Roses
Preventing Common Rose Diseases
Fixing Diseased and Problem Roses
Boost Your Roses in the Spring
Drying Your Roses
Cold Climate Roses
Revive Wilting Roses
Roses as Gifts
101 Tips for Growing and Enjoying Your Own Great Rose Garden is inexpensive and available on this site. Check it out if you, too, want gorgeous roses flowering in YOUR yard.